Viewpoint from Keith Morris for 24th August 2012
Editor of www.networknorfolk.co.uk and www.networkyarmouth.co.uk
Trustee of Norwich Vineyard Church
Torches, prayers, bells, hymns and finally some sport
Many of us will have our London 2012 Olympic Games memories, which hopefully have not started to fade just yet.
e started when the Olympic Flame reached Norwich. I encountered it when blind Anglican minister and community activist Rev Simon Stokes held his Olympic Torch high right outside City Hall in Norwich city centre in front of the madly cheering thousands and with his guide dog Tigger beside him. The excitement was intense and the moment very special.
Earlier the same day I was present when a Prayer Baton also reached Norwich on a nationwide tour, brought by Christians from Peterborough. The following day, Norwich representatives passed it onto colleagues in Ipswich – the hollow baton was literally stuffed full of the prayers of the Norwich saints for their Ipswich counterparts.
My next Olympic encounter was on the morning of the opening ceremony as church bells across the land, including in my home village of Wreningham, rang out to announce the long-awaited day had finally arrived.
The spectacular opening ceremony itself bore testimony to the UK’s strong Christian heritage with hymns such as Guide Me O Thou’ Great Redeemer, Abide With me and Jerusalem peppering the opening sequences.
And then the real actio
n began on track and road and water and, after a slow start, the gold medals for Team GB began to flow in abundance.
Our sporty family was very keen to partake in the whole “once-in-a-lifetime” experience and with our two children back from university for the summer, we hoped to take in any sports we could. After no initial success in the ballot, we managed to secure second-chance Olympic tickets for Basketball, Volleyball and a morning Athletics session.
And I can report we had a thoroughly uplifting experience from beginning to end, shouting for the Lithuanian basketball team, the Polish volleyball team and finally some GB athletes.
Several New Testament authors are believed to have referred to Olympic-type games, with St Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9 being the best known, and pointing to the lesson we can possibly best learn from the sporting excellence we have witnessed over the past few weeks.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”